The SNP ignores its own experts

5th August 2016 at 01:00

Contrary to claims previously made by the EIS union, we now know that the Scottish government does plan to collect, collate and analyse standardised test data. This is despite two of its own senior officials warning against such a move, arguing that – as the test will not be used at the same time by all students – the data they generate will not be “comparable”. Dismissing the views of its own officials – one of whom is the government’s chief researcher – would be a quite extraordinary step by the SNP.

Procurement documents for the new testing system show that huge amounts of information will in fact be centrally collected and the government has confirmed to me that it intends to use “any information gathered” to – as it sees it – drive improvement in Scottish education.

Serious questions need to be asked about the government’s intent at this stage. If, as it claims, national standardised testing is just a tool for teachers, and if professional judgement is really “vital”, then why collect the test data at all? Aside from allowing the SNP to save face, what purpose is served by gathering meaningless information about standardised test performance on a council-by-council, school-by-school or – as the procurement documents show – teacher-by-teacher level?

James McEnaney

Lecturer, journalist and previously candidate for Rise

Short and tweet

Welcome if not surprising news: principles and practice of #NamedPerson upheld as reasonable, legitimate and benign, supporting families. @girfec


This #NamedPerson totalitarian temptation may well end up being Sturgeon’s Poll Tax.


Either side claiming “victory” seems pretty hollow. Hope the winners that emerge from the #NamedPerson ruling are kids rather than MP/MSPs.


The implications? Named persons can be rolled out, but the Scottish government needs to revisit the rules to make them tighter and clearer to satisfy the ECHR (European Convention on Human Rights).


Good news #NamedPerson scheme will go ahead following the @UKSupremeCourt ruling.


If the #NamedPerson scheme helps even one child then I say it’s completely worthwhile.


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